NPN (Gezondheidsproducten Nederland) said the two groups had developed differing views on how best to deal with ‘traditional health claims’, and so NPN chose to cut ties although it didn’t rule out working together on matters of mutual interest going forward.
“The decision has not been taken lightly,” NPN said of its move provoked by the traditional claims and botanicals debate that remains in limbo in the EU after several years.
“NPN is a founding member of EHPM (European Federation of Associations of Health Product Manufacturers) and has faithfully and loyally contributed to the organisation throughout the years,” it added.
“However, a fundamental difference of opinion has arisen between EHPM’s board and NPN concerning the solution that must be found for the problem that the European nutrition and health claims regulation [NHCR] lacks a procedure that applies specifically to health claims based on traditional use.”
“This problem has been framed as a problem that only concerns traditional use of botanicals, but NPN holds the view that the problem concerns all traditional health claims.”
Claims and cut-offs
NPN showed its inclination to go its own way on the matter when it put its traditional claims case to the European Commission in November – EHPM and other trade groups were not involved then although the NPN has worked with other bodies on EU regulatory matters in the past.
It seeks amendment of the NHCR, not the creation of a new law that may include differing criteria for the best way to treat botanical science in a commercial claims-making context.
“NPN considers extending this course to regulating market entry of ‘botanicals’ unnecessarily restrictive, onerous and inappropriate, especially because regulating ‘botanicals’ may eventually lead to the inclusion of a pharmacological cut-off point in such a system.”
It added: “NPN fears that once the pharmacological cut-off point is accepted as a model for limiting the use of botanical foodstuffs in or as foods, it cannot be excluded that this ‘cut-off’ model will be applied to other foodstuffs such as vitamins, minerals and other physiologically active substances.”
NPN, along with Federsalus in Italy and the UK Health Food Manufacturers' Association (HFMA), have challenged the NHCR in EU courts, arguing for the annulment of the 13.1 general function claim list that contains more than 230 mostly vitamin and mineral-based health claim approvals under the NHCR but has rejected 1500+ claims.